Until church members had a building of their own, they held services in their homes, subject to the weather and farm work schedules. There is some evidence that the church was holding services in German and English on alternate Sundays.(1)
By 1810, congregant Henry Bonesteel had donated a plot of land for a church building, located about ¾ mile east of our present location, "on a small rise of ground north [or south?] of the modern route 212 and overlooking the Sawkill where it twists by the present-day golf club, which was at that time a mill on the stream."(2)
From Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976]. In 2006, Mark Anderson learned that the original church building was not up on the ledge and north of Route 212 but was actually south of 212, between the road and the Sawkill. "This is congruent with the reported statement of Allen Nash, who transferred into the church from Rhinebeck in the 1830s when he said that there was an old, unusable church building still standing half-way between the one on the Bonesteel lease (on the ledge) and the mill at the east end of town (present golf clubhouse). Interesting, eh?" (Close)
Sometime soon thereafter the first church building was completed at that site. "It was often designated as 'The Church on the Rocks,' for this elevation is caused by a ledge of rock"(3);
Quoted from Frederick, Rev. Walter, "Historical Address, Woodstock, N.Y., May 3, 1931," p. 9, itself citing, without attribution, Traver, Charles H., D.D., of West Camp, "History of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, N.Y., 1806-1906," an earlier source from the centennial, when Reverend Frederick was pastor. (Close)
although that church (the "Church on the Rocks," might really be the second church, built sometime between 1822 (the second survey of John Wigram, showing the original location) and the 1830s, when Allen Nash reported an "old, unusable church" (see footnote 2). [You can click here to see the new church represented in an 1810 survey map.]
Congregant John Connor became a trustee during this year.
Above is a page from the church register, recording the officers of the church from 1807 through 1810, as they were elected on a rotating basis. To enlarge the picture, just click it.
The official pastor (on a rotating basis) was Reverend Joseph Prentiss (sometimes spelled Prentice), 31, who continued acting as pastor on a rotating basis for both the Lutheran and the Episcopalian congregations in Athens as well as another Episcopalian congregation in Coxsackie. Rationalists such as the previous pastor and founder, Rev. Frederick Henry Quitman, 50, pictured here, who had prevailed upon Pastor Prentiss to take over the pulpit in Woodstock, felt that any ordained clergyman--Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregationalist, and (presumably) Lutheran--could be an interchangeable pastor for any one of those congregations.
For his part, Reverent Quitman was still pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Rhinebeck. He was also president of the New York Ministerium (the synod), and he was working on a new catechism in the English language.
During this year, Reverend Quitman published a work he had probably been working on while he had been pastor in Woodstock: A Treatise on Magic, or, on the Intercourse between Spirits and Men, with Annotations, a study of witchcraft (to see the enlarged title page as well as read several of the pages in the treatise, click the thumbnail of the title page to the right). The great rationalist was apparently annoyed by the local superstitions and belief in witchcraft and had even investigated at least one incident personally. He felt that during a dull winter, there would be infestations of so-called demons. Town historian Alf Evers noted that there is no evidence that Woodstock residents of the time paid any attention to Quitman's spoken and written denunciations. Certainly this is evidence of strong and early Christian witness provided in a locality known for its uncritical acceptance of both irrational and non-Christian beliefs.(4)
Dr. Jacob Brink of Lake Katrine, known in Woodstock and its environs as a "white witch" and "conjurer," was often called upon to deal with the black magic of reputed witches in the area. He was frequently called upon to contend with the "Mink Hollow witch," Becky Demilt (or Demill), reputed to be tall and thin, with black hair and snow-white skin, walking on a club foot adorned with three stockings and riding a black stallion.
Region historian Alf Evers(5)
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, pp. 23ff, 41, 150ff. (Close)
has described the Catskills as largely a region of absentee landlords and struggling tenants, in a manorial relationship more or less transplanted to upstate New York from medieval Europe. The principal landlord for tenant farmers and tavern keepers in the Town of Woodstock was "Chancellor" Robert R. Livingston (pictured), but actually running the Chancellor's affairs with his Catskill holdings of about 66,000 acres, however, was his son-in-law, Robert L. Livingston, 35. The Livingstons dwelled in their Clermont estate on the other side of the Hudson.
The typical official arrangement under which the tenant held his land was the "three-life lease": A tenant would be permitted use of Livingston land for three generations, and after the grandson of the original tenant died, the lease "fell in"--that is, the land would revert to a Livingston landlord. (For this reason, a tenant typically build a wood frame house or a rough log house, rather than the stone houses like those found in the Hurley or Marbletown lowlands.)
The Livingston landlord expected the tenants to increase the value of the land by clearing it, cutting the trees to feed the sawmill he had built on the Sawkill near the present-day golf course, and hauling the resulting boards and planks to the Hudson to supply the manufacture of gunstocks, houses, and ships. Stipulated in the typical lease was an annual rent of fifteen to twenty bushels of wheat per hundred acres, plus three or four "good fat hens" and from one to three days' work with team on the common land. A tenant could sell his leasehold, but he had to pay the landlord one-sixth of the sale.
Livingston--through his agent John Wigram, pictured here, the town supervisor who resided on Wigram Lane (Rock City Road) near the barn now known as Parnassus Square, and who farmed there with the help of his slaves--initiated several legal proceedings against recalcitrant tenants whom he considered scofflaws and trespassers, those who failed to pay rent and who cut the landlord's timber for sale as boards, shingles, and other uses. Livingston "regarded the tenants' own shiftlessness and dishonesty as responsible for most of their troubles."
The life of the tenant on Livingston land was not especially easy. The men worked at subsistence farming, they hunted, they logged, they produced maple sugar, they did part-time blacksmithing, and--with wood harvested from the still-large Woodstock forests (much of it belonging to the Livingston landlord, its harvesting thus constituting trespassing)--they produced charcoal and made such wood products as shingles and barrel and hogshead staves. In the late spring or early summer they peeled hemlock bark used for tanning, piling it in the woods and in the winter hauling it by sledge to smelly tannery of John C. Ring in the heart of Woodstock hamlet. (A few Woodstock tenants were sawmill operators [on sites reserved by the Livingston landlord] or tavern owners.)
Women cooked and baked in fireplaces, washed on the rocks beside a stream, sewed and spun flax and wool, churned butter, gave birth to children and then cared for them, and helped with the farm work, especially at harvest and slaughtering times: They made soap from ashes and animal fats, they dried apples, they pickled and preserved.
The census showed that 17 slaves were owned by Woodstock residents.
Stephen Stilwell, recently saved by his brother Samuel from financial disaster, put the following notice in the Ulster Plebeian to demonstrate that he was still involved in new industries in the upper Sawkill Valley, just over the boundary from Livingston land:
PUBLIC NOTICE Is hereby given that we the subscribers intend to present a petition to the legislature… at their next session, for an act of incorporation, to enable us to make a turn pike road, to commence at Hudson's River nearly opposite Red Hook Landing, at the red house near Cornelius Minklaer's in the town of Kingston, and from thence to run the most direct and convenient route, through the towns of Kingston and Woodstock, to the place contemplated for the Woodstock Glass Company manufactury, in the town of Woodstock. Dated Jan. 1810.(6)This was to become Glasco Turnpike, which was to enable his brother's Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Society in Bristol (Shady) to ship its product to the Hudson River and to distant customers, taking advantage of the war in Europe to stimulate domestic manufactures. At the same time, Stilwell persuaded the state legislature to authorize the incorporation of the Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company (why be limited to mere glass?). There were excellent beds of clay close to Minklaer farm near the river, and cotton mills near fast-running water such as the upper Sawkill were considered an excellent investment. (The name of the community that grew up around the landing became "Glasco," a shortened form of "Glass Company.")
Quoted in ibid., p. 127. (Close)
Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree, 13, was sold for the third time in as many years, this time to John J. Dumont of New Paltz. Mr. Dumont was a reasonably kind master (beating her only infrequently), but his wife was a severe and very hard-to-please taskmistress.
Catskill businessmen, including surveyor and land speculator William Cockburn, had taken over the publicly owned Schohariekill Road (approximately present-day Route 23A) and were attempting to convert it into a private "Little Delaware Turnpike," which, when completed, would stretch from Catskill all the way to the East Branch of the Delaware River (north of Roxbury). Captain Alden Partridge of West Point brought parties of cadets to North and South Lakes, using the new turnpike. Unfortunately, the businessmen were not able to recover from the business slump they had suffered 3 years earlier, and only 15 miles of the 60 that had been planned were ever completed.
Hudson attorney Elisha Williams had been an investor in some of the rugged Catskill land on the turnpike, land known as the "Pine Orchard," at the head of Kaaterskill Clove just a few minutes walk southeast of the twin lakes (North Lake and South Lake) and, with a little trimming, providing a dramatic view of the Hudson River and much of the entire region. As more and more nature pilgrims hiked into the wilderness, he bided his time on his investment, held for the past year, certain that one day it would become quite valuable.
James Madison (Democratic Republican), 59, was President. The 11th Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 12th Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $11.99 in 2006 for most consumable products.
There were 7.2 million people in the United States; 1.2 million of them were slaves, 186,000 were free Negroes, and 60,000 were immigrants. New York City surpassed Philadelphia in population. A little over a million people lived west of the Appalachians. Only half of the children born in the United States reached the age of 5.
Cities in the Northern states had few slums, but they were dirty, crowded, and crude. There was very little police and fire protection. Sewage disposal was an individual problem. Street cleaning in Boston was left to farmers, who would collect the sweepings for fertilizer.
Favorite foods in the Northeastern U.S. (especially New England) included boiled dinner comprised of corned beef, carrots, potatoes, turnip, cabbage, and squash; baked beans with brown bread; all types of seafood, including lobster, clams, oysters, and fish chowders; fresh vegetables in summer; cellar vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, and squash, in winter; desserts including apple pie, pumpkin pie, plum pudding, and bread pudding. Housewives employed a number of methods to preserve foods. Fruits and vegetables, for example, were sliced thin, threaded on strings, and hung up to dry in a cool place. By cooking in water, these foods could be brought back to a moist consistency again. Some vegetables, such as squash and potatoes, kept well for months in the family root cellar. Other foods, such as butter, might be preserved simply by submerging them in well or spring water. Salting or smoking or both were often necessary. One widely used technique was to pack pieces of meat in a barrel filled with a brine solution. The brine had to be strong enough to float an egg. To this, molasses, brown sugar, or even ale was sometimes added for flavoring. The barrel was then kept in a cool place, usually the cellar. Although meat could be kept for great lengths of time in this way, exhaustive rinsing, scrubbing, and soaking were necessary to make the meat even remotely palatable. Corning meat (successively rubbing it with salt) was simpler.(7)
American men were "impressed" from American ships into the British Navy at the rate of about 1500 per year.
At first commerce with the British soared to the levels before the Embargo. Commerce with France increased as well, but not so much, so Napoleon announced that France would remove its Berlin Decree and Milan Decree restrictions if the U.S. would reestablish its embargo with the UK. The American Minster to France was told:
His Majesty loves the Americans.President Madison was duped into believing that France would indeed remove its Decrees, even though Minister to Russia John Quincy Adams, 43, warned that this promise was really "a trap to catch us into a war with England."(8)
Amazingly, Congress moved to reduce the size of both the Army and the Navy.
Federalists, opposed to the growing tensions with the United Kingdom, protested the commissioning of regular army officers to command local militias, the discrimination against New England commerce, and the neglect of coastal defenses.
Jonathan G. W. Trumbull of Norwich, CT, organized the Hartford Fire Insurance Company.
John Jacob Astor, 47, founded the American Fur Company to exploit the fur business in the West, bartering firearms, whiskey, and flannel with the Indians in exchange for pelts.
Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin noted that U.S. manufactured products that year totaled $120 million ($1.44 billion in 2006 dollars) and that the U.S. was becoming self-sufficient in some industries.
Striking journeymen cordwainers (shoemakers) were tried in New York City and were fined $1 each ($11.99 in 2006 dollars).
Cornelius van Derbilt, 16, set up a ferry service between Manhattan and Staten Island.
American unofficial heavyweight champion Tom Molineaux, a freed slave from Virginia, was defeated in the 40th round in a fight in England.
Governor William Henry Harrison of Indiana Territory, 37, kept pressure on the Indians, grabbing their lands through promising aid to one group against another, penalizing one group for some misdemeanor, or corrupting another group. Harrison met with a few score renegades from dispersed tribes (whom he described as "the most depraved wretches on earth") and persuaded them to sign over some 3 million acres along both banks of the Wabash River.
Shawnee Indian brave Tenskwatawa, 42, known as the Prophet, preached that the Indians had to give up white ways and white artifacts, such as muskets, iron cooking pots, cloth, and whiskey. If they returned to ancient Indian ways, they would be able to gain sufficient power to resist the relentless pressure from American settlers. Indians traveled from Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota to hear his message at his village along Tippecanoe Creek in Indiana Territory. Meanwhile, the Prophet's brother Tecumseh, 42, was visiting other Indian villages and organizing various tribes into a confederation to oppose the encroachment of the whites. Tecumseh told a messenger of President Madison:
These lands are ours. No one has a right to remove us, because we were the first owners. The Great Spirit above has appointed this place for us, on which to light our fires, and we will remain. As to boundaries, the Great Spirit knows no boundaries, nor will His red children acknowledge any.(9)In August, Tecumseh wrote to Governor Harrison in Vincennes, Indiana Territory, the following(10):
Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 151. (Close)
It is true I am a Shawnee. My forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I take only my existence; from my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune; and oh! that I could make that of my red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison to ask him to tear the treaty and to obliterate the landmark; but I would say to him: "Sir, you have liberty to return to your own country."Tecumseh with 75 of his warriors visited Governor Harrison at Vincennes. Harrison observed that Tecumseh was
The being within, communing with past ages, tells me that once, nor until lately, there was no white man on this continent; that it then all belonged to red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race, once a happy race, since made miserable by the white people who are never contented but always encroaching. The way, and the only way, to check and to stop this evil, is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be yet; for it never was divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. For no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers--those who want all, and will not do with less.
The white people have no right to take the land from the Indians, because they had it first; it is theirs. They may sell, but all must join. Any sale not made by all is not valid. The late sale is bad. It was made by a part only. Part do not know how to sell. It requires all to make a bargain for all. All red men have equal rights to the unoccupied land. The right of occupancy is as good in one place as in another. There can not be tow occupations in the same place. The first excludes all others. It is not so in hunting or traveling; for there the same ground will serve many, as they may follow each other all day; but the camp is stationary, and that is occupancy. It belongs to the first who sits down on his blanket or skins which he has thrown upon the ground; and till he leaves it no other has a right.
one of those uncommon geniuses which spring up occasionally to produce revolutions and overturn the established order of things.Tecumseh addressed Harrison as follows:
You are continually driving the red people [from their land], when at last you will drive them into the [ocean] where they can't either stand or work. Brother, you ought to know what you are doing with the Indians' premises…. It is a very bad thing and we do not like it.(11)Tecumseh was against any further land sales to the United States:
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 285. (Close)
Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds, and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?(12)Tecumseh visited the British authorities at Amherstberg in Canada, pleading with them to go to war against the United States-- to no avail.
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 228. (Close)
John Chapman, 35, known as "Johnny Appleseed," continued distributing Swedenborgian religious tracts and apple seeds to settlers in the Ohio Valley. A small, wiry man with "eyes that sparkled with a peculiar brightness," he had a reputation for loving children and all living creatures, even mosquitoes. He made friends with all the Indians he encountered. He traveled barefoot, dressed in cast-offs or a coffee sack. He liked to read to settlers from the New Testament, calling it "news right fresh from heaven."
The corrupt deal that a venal Georgia legislature had made in 1795 with speculators for 35 million acres on the Yazoo River in Mississippi, which had been later rescinded by a subsequent, less corrupt legislature, but not without opposition of the speculators, finally came before the U.S. Supreme Court, presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall, 55, in the case Fletcher v. Peck. The Court decreed that the original corrupt legislative grant was a contract (even though fraudulently secured) and that the Constitution forbids state laws from "impairing" contracts. Private property rights can thus trump popular pressures, and the Supreme Court can invalidate state laws that conflict with the Constitution.
Settlers from the American South in West Florida (the Gulf Coast region between the Pearl River and New Orleans) revolted against Spanish rule and seized Baton Rouge. Taking advantage of the widespread insurrections against Spanish rule throughout the New World, the U.S. annexed the region with alacrity, claiming that it was really part of Louisiana, and incorporating it into the Territory of Orleans (the southern part of the Louisiana Purchase).
French botanist François Michaux published his 3-volume description of North American trees; ornithologist Alexander Wilson sighted 2 billion passenger pigeons flying over Kentucky; and Yale Medical School was established.
The Presbyterian Church excommunicated the Cumberland Presbytery of Kentucky.
There were 366 newspapers in the United States.
Popular periodicals included Christian's Magazine.
Creole priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, 57 (pictured at right), inspired his village of Dolores in Mexico to rise up against Spanish oppression with his Grito de Dolores message:
My children.… Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen 300 years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once.… Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government!(13)Father Hidalgo led his 80,000 ill-equipped Mexican rebels to capture Guanajuato, Guadalajara, and Valladolid. When they approached Mexico City, the small Spanish garrison of Felix Maria Calleja del Rey, 60, forced the rebels to retreat.
Quoted in ibid., p. 316. (Close)
Miners in Durham, England, went out on strike.
Public billiard rooms opened in Covent Garden in London.
King George III sank into incurable insanity, and his son, George, Prince of Wales, became Lord Regent.
Serfdom was abolished in Prussia; serfs were given the lands they had been farming.
Queen Louise of Prussia, whom Napoleon had slandered, died at the age of 34.
The Krupp works opened at Essen in Germany.
The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in München (Munich), celebrating the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, 24, to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, 18.
Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg, 37, Austrian Foreign Minister, arranged the marriage of Archduchess Maria Luisa, 18, daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria, to the Emperor Napoleon. They were married by proxy.
Abortion became a crime in France.
Tobacco sales in France became a government monopoly.
French banker Benjamin Delessert set up sugar beet factories in Passy, to deal with the shortage of sugar products because of the British blockade.
Austrian Tyrolese freedom fighter Andreas Hofer led a rebellion against Napoleonic Bavaria, defeating one Bavarian army. Then combined French and Bavarian forces defeated him. Hofer was forced into hiding, but he was betrayed, captured, and executed by French forces in Mantua.
With his Decree of Fontainebleau, Napoleon (to enlarge his picture, just click it) mandated the seizure of all British goods.
Peninsular Campaign: Sir Arthur Wellesley, 41, the Duke of Wellington, built up defenses with about 25,000 British and the same number of Portuguese around Lisbon on the heights of Torres Vedras. French General Marshal Massé again invaded Portugal with 80,000 men, determined to drive the British into the sea. Wellington was victorious in the Battle of Busaco. After an unsuccessful siege of Lisbon and the Torres Vedras highlands, the French gave up and retreated to Spain.
The European war was extended to the New World, where the British captured Guadaloupe.
A yellow fever plague killed some 25,000 people in Cadiz and Barcelona in Spain.
Prince Christian of Holstein Augstenburg was elected heir to the Swedish throne, but he suddenly died and was replaced by Napoleonic Marshal Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, 48.
German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann advocated homeopathy in his Organon der Rationellen Heilkunde ("Organon of Therapeutics"); English physicist John Dalton published New System of Chemical Philosophy; French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin isolated the active ingredient in tobacco and named it Nicotianine in honor of the plant's promoter two and a half centuries earlier Jean Nicot; and English chemist William H. Wollaston isolated the amino acid cystine. English scientist Henry Cavendish died at the age of 69.
German composer Ludwig von Beethoven, 40, produced music for Goethe's 1778 Egmont; French novelist Mme. Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baronne de Staël-Holstein, 44, published De l'Allemagne; Italian composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, 18, produced in Venice the opera La Cambiale di Matrimonioand German painter Johann Friedrich Overbeck established the Nazarenes (Pre-Raphaelites) as an attempt to revive religious themes in art. A triumphal column glorifying Napoleon was erected in the Place Vendôme in Paris, and work continued on the Arc de Triomphe. The San Carlo Opera House was built in Naples.